Richwood sues drug distributors for prescription pill epidemic

By Kyla Asbury | Feb 1, 2017

CHARLESTON – The Town of Richwood has filed a lawsuit against three drug distributors it claims caused and contributed to the opioid epidemic across the state.

The lawsuit, which names AmerisourceBergen Drug Co., Cardinal Health Inc. and McKesson Corporation as defendants, is similar to the lawsuit filed by the City of Huntington in January. It is also similar to the 2012 lawsuit settled by the state for approximately $47 million.

Richwood alleges that the drug distributors caused and contributed to the opioid epidemic and will continue to cause town to disburse substantial sums of public funds to deal with the consequences of the opioid epidemic that was fueled by the defendants’ illegal, reckless and malicious actions in flooding the state with highly addictive prescription medications without regard for the adverse consequences to Richwood or its residents.

Dr. Bob Henry Baber, the Mayor of Richwood, stated that the cost to the town has been substantial, both financially and spiritually.

“The Town of Richwood is pleased to attain the services of Charles Webb in recovering damages to our community as a result of ‘drug dumping,’” Baber said.

The town is seeking damages for reimbursement for Richwood including, but not limited to, increased expenses of drug abuse treatment program; prevention and training costs for law enforcement, hospitals and schools; costs of the drug Naloxone as well as education, training and use, medical care and hospitalizations; increased costs of law enforcement; increased costs of prosecutions; and increased costs of incarcerations.

Overall, the defendants shipped 780 million hydrocodone and oxycodone pills to West Virginia over a six-year period. During that time, 1,728 people statewide fatally overdosed on them.

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